Serving Families Since 1996

Family Law Mediators | Collaborative Law
Over 25 Years Serving Southwest Florida
(239) 334-0075




Serving clients in Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Estero, Bonita Springs, Naples, Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte, LaBelle and throughout Florida

Mediation is the resolution of outstanding issues between two parents/spouses. This process, overseen by a neutral mediator trained in conflict resolution takes place in a controlled and confidential manner. Here in Florida, mediation is part of our family law procedures and is required before a case goes to trial. It can also be required in post-judgment issues before you proceed to a hearing. Many cases can be settled through mediation and, in fact, state statistics say court mediation departments see a high success rate.  At Bergermann Law Firm, we believe in mediation because it is a process of self-determination, as opposed to having an judicial officer decide what’s best for you and your family. With mediation, you have control over your future: You are not giving up control to a judge as a third party who doesn’t know your family.  With mediation, you are also able to be creative in being able to solve your problems. Judges have to follow case law and legal statutes to the letter, but in mediation, you can create what works best for your family. For example, if you are buying out your spouse’s share of the house, a judge may have no choice but to say the buyout must be accomplished in 60 days. But if you make that buy-out arrangement during mediation, you may be able to buy out your spouse’s share of the house over the course of several years, depending on what you both decide with your mediator. We believe that you should go into mediation already having been educated about the law by setting up a consultation with one of our family law attorneys, even if you don’t retain us for the mediation. You need to know what the law says about the aspects of divorce before you go into mediation. Mediators, by law, cannot provide legal advice during mediation as it would be a conflict of interest.  Mediation is both affordable and more emotionally healthy than litigating your divorce in court. It honors the feelings and rights of both parties and can provide a better level of closure for you and your family members. When done correctly by our experienced family law attorneys, mediation can bring a conclusion to your divorce case while avoiding the tension and expenses of a lengthy courtroom conflict where the results are ordered by a judge. Mediation produces a faster outcome, and it helps preserve relationships within your family. Vera Bergermann is a family law mediator with vast experience in family law. We also have another family law mediator in our firm, Steve Clarke, LMHC, who is an experienced mental health counselor. When you go into mediation with a Bergermann Law Firm professional, decisions are made reasonably and by taking facts into account. Our mediators can help you come to a mutually agreeable resolution for every area of your divorce — child custody and parenting plans, financial issues such as alimony and child support, division of the assets, and more. 

Anna Paula | Cape Coral, FL

Vera took over my case as my previous attorney was not reliable. Even though it was about half way through, she calmed all parties down, brought resolution quickly and efficiently, always answered my emails and returned my phone calls, and I can't thank her enough for everything she did.


What happens if my spouse and I don't come to any agreement in mediation?

If you are mandated by the court to participate in mediation and fail to reach a resolution, you will return to court, where the judge will then render a decision on your behalf.

What are the benefits of mediation?
  • Mediation offers a chance to talk with an impartial party.
  • Decisions are self-determined by you and your spouse instead of being imposed by a third party, such as a judge.
  • Discussions held during mediation are confidential.
  • The mediator aids in overcoming communication barriers with your spouse.
  • Agreements reached through mediation are legally enforceable.
  • Mediated agreements provide flexible solutions to disputes.
  • Mediation differs from trials or arbitration processes.
  • It can save time and expenses.
  • You have clarity about the agreed terms in mediation rather than risking the unknown outcome of a court decision.
  • Mediation offers an opportunity for deeper insight into the roots of your dispute
What is a mediator?

A mediator can come from various backgrounds such as mental health or business professionals, attorneys, educators, among others. To attain certification by the Florida Supreme Court, a mediator must fulfill specific requirements and adhere to ethical standards established by the court. While a mediator does not offer therapy, counseling, business, or legal advice, they facilitate the mediation process as a neutral party. The mediator facilitates communication between parties in dispute without making decisions for them. Serving as a neutral and impartial guide, the mediator helps parties generate potential solutions, maintain progress, and clarify areas of agreement and disagreement. Furthermore, they may aid in fostering understanding of each side’s perspective on the conflict.

Do I need an attorney for mediation?

You do not need to have an attorney present at mediation as it is not mandatory. However, we suggest consulting with an attorney before attending mediation and having legal representation during the process can also be beneficial.

What happens if we reach an agreement during mediation?

During mediation, it’s possible to resolve all, some, or none of the issues at hand. If a full or partial agreement is achieved, our law firm handles creating all of the documents involved and drafts the paperwork starting the agreements agreed upon. All parties involved in the dispute, along with their attorneys (if present at mediation), must sign the agreement. However, if only a partial agreement is reached, indicating unresolved issues, these matters may proceed to be addressed in a trial unless they are settled post-mediation but before the trial commences.

What if we can’t reach an agreement during mediation?

If you don’t reach an agreement during court-ordered mediation, the mediator is required to inform the court that no agreement was reached. They must still maintain confidentiality. Despite not reaching an agreement during mediation, you can still pursue settlement options afterward. If you settle your case post-mediation but before the trial, contact the court to find out what procedures you now need to follow.